Penguins, Polar Bears and Spreading Ignorance

Every December that beverage company we all know, which herein will remain nameless (because I’m a little afraid of them), starts airing those stupid commercials with penguins and polar bears. Makes me a little crazy.

Okay, you can argue: Who cares if it’s impossible (other than in a zoo) for penguins and polar bears to be in the same place? Who cares if polar bears only live in the far north of the northern hemisphere and penguins only live south of the equator? (Although penguins get way closer to the equator than polar bears ever do.) Who cares if the ads (which must be in the north, because it’s december and it’s dark) show lots of open water when that much open water is improbable for that time of year–even with global warming. Who cares?

Me. I think it does matter. (I also think it matters when words are spelled incorrectly, or poor grammar is used in materials targeted to children. But that’s another topic.) So many people get all their information from television these days, and if they see penguins and polar bears together enough, they start to think it must be true. Just look how the Flintstones influenced fundamentalist Christians. LOL.

Proof of my theory that these ads are evil? I just read today that, “A new science textbook for school claims that polar bears eat penguins…” This was reported by Graeme Paton, in British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph. Peter Cotgreave, the chairman of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, is quoted in the article as saying, “….It reflects a loss of respect for science.”

Yes, that’s true. But I also think it proves that it does matter what you show in ads and movies. How influenced the average person can be by misinformation. (Hey, great fascists and dictators understood this. They called it propaganda. Arguably the good people at Fox News understand it, too, but I serioulsly digress.) Obviously the writers and editors of this text book (TEXT BOOK!!!) were influenced enough by images like those ads (that beverage company isn’t the first offender, here) that they believed this was a fact.

Maybe (I hope) the people who created those ads knew the polar bear/penguin land they created was fanciful… but I fear far too many of the viewers who see it, including children, don’t understand the fanciful part.

(But I totally buy that there are polar bears on the island in LOST. 😉

  6 comments for “Penguins, Polar Bears and Spreading Ignorance

  1. December 15, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    I totally buy the LOST polar bear too. Penguins and polar bears together? Don’t polar bears eat seals? And don’t polar bears need ice flos, not open water? I don’t know. While we’re on stupid ad campaigns, what about those beavers for Bell? I can’t stand the sight of those overweight marsupials with attitude. They aren’t cute Bell! They’re irritating. Okay, I’m feeling better now.

  2. December 15, 2006 at 11:00 pm


    Stop messing with my stock price. I’m hurting enough this year already. LOL.

    Doesn’t the fact that its a cartoon make you feel better? Not exactly a documentary.

    Waiting to hear what you have to say about spelling spiders.

  3. December 15, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    It’s amazing what people will believe and glean from TV. Remember, and I can’t remember his name, the US senator (I think), that said Murphy Brown was corrupt for having a baby out of wed lock.

    My friend is a third grade teacher and some of the stuff the kids will write about that they get from TV and believe is mind blowing. She told me once that a child wrote that Inuit eat Eskimos.

    I agree with Maia, I hate the beavers too. And being from the North, I wouldn’t want to be near a Polar Bear regardless of what he was drinking.

  4. December 15, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Spelling spiders and talking pigs are clearly a fantasy. Whereas coke drinking polar bears are a documentary. :-) Yup. Okay, you are making me wonder why one bothers me and the other doesn’t…

    Maybe I don’t think any kid is going to believe, for long, that spiders can talk or spell… Certainly no adults will.
    Similarly, no kid or adult will believe that polar bears or penguins drink carbonated, over-caffienated, sugar beverages… But I really think seeing polar bears and penguins together just spreads ignorance. That part isn’t the obvious “cartoon” part. And the idea that I can affect your share price? You made me smile. I wish. (not that your shares will go down… just that more than 10 people will ever read this blog entry… okay, maybe 30 or 40.) :-)

  5. Anonymous
    December 16, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Want to be part of a THANK YOU card for Miss Snark?

    Return a picture of yourself if possible, and no more than seven words to:

    A lot of us are getting hit with the clue gun and I have no doubt I will be one of them, but

    I’M STILL GRATEFUL TO HER! Aren’t you?

    Please help pass the word to anyone you know who might want to participate, but let’s try to

    make it a surprise.

    Thank you. Please delete this before she sees it.

  6. December 16, 2006 at 10:11 pm

    Just watched an interview with Dan Cathy, the President of Chick-fil-A. He says that they regularly get letters from people blasting them because their cow spokes”people” can’t spell.
    So I guess your “beef” about the beverage commercial isn’t that out of line.

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